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Best Release Management DevOps Tools

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  • Last Updated April 18, 2018

Introduction:

Release Management can be defined as the process of managing, planning, scheduling and also controlling the whole process of building a piece of software via various stages of development and environments – such as testing and deploying software releases. Most of the Organizations follow a certain process around releasing their software to their environments. Typically application versions are promoted to a various number of environments ranging from the Development environment, to the Staging environment and then to the SIT and then to the UAT environments for the other integrations, and the necessary testing. Release Management, in other words, is also about developers and application development, and the focus area has been trending towards Agile from Waterfall model for more than a decade now. The primary focus of Release Management process is to move software projects through these various stages or environments and be focused on iterative, regular releases.

Now with this initial background around the Release Management as a process, let us see what advantages this brings in a DevOps pipeline, should a customer plans to adopt a Release Management DevOps tool into their pipeline. We will be discussing many of the products that are available either open source or premium versions in this space and also discuss the various advantages that these tools bring to the table if they are included as part of the DevOps pipeline for any Organization or institution. With no further delay, we can get into the next section where these are going to be discussed in greater detail.

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Types of Release Management DevOps Tools:

Best Release Management DevOps Tools

With the initial background about the concept of Release Management, let us now take a look at the tools that are made available in this area. In this section of the article, we will be introducing you to the available options in the Release Management space which can either be open-source or they can be premium paid tools as well. We will not be differentiating the tools in any manner but we will point out the advantages that might help Organizations.

1. XL Release:

XL Release is an end to end tool that helps pipeline orchestration for Continuous Delivery and DevOps teams. XL Release is a software tool that is specifically designed to automate, orchestrate and also to get the keen visibility into the release pipelines. It has the ease to manage the most advanced release pipelines and also allows to know the status of automated, manual steps across the whole pipeline. It also helps in identifying the bottlenecks to reduce the number of errors that might happen and thereby lower the risk of release failures.

XL Release has the ability to handle both manual and automated tasks, complex dependencies and also handles release chains. It has great integration capabilities with your change and releases management tools as well. The tool in itself allows you to plan, track and execute releases automatically and hence provides you with the time that you can actually spend on better planning. It acts as a single source of information for all the release related activities.

Following are some of the advantages of using XL Release, let us now take a look at each and every one of them:
Advantages:

  • Has the ability to capture all the related release information in less than 30 minutes.
  • Provides ways and means to identify the manual steps where it is taking longer time or requires more manual intervention through its reporting features.
  • Reduces the number of manual steps involved in the overall release process as such.
  • It improves the efficiency of releases through automation and standardization.
  • This tool will also help in moving towards a fully automated delivery pipeline, thereby enabling more fine grained releases.
  • This tool will implement the transformation from a manual process to a fully automated release process at the earliest.

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2. Clarive:

Clarive is a tool that is designed to simplify, automate and speed up the whole release management process within your Organizations. CollabNet’s Clarive is an application release management tool that does all the coordination that is necessary for the release coordination, deployment automation. It also provides ways and means to manage different environments to ensure speed and reliability of application delivery for your Organization and your software product release cycle.

Automating release and change management is the most important aspect that needs to be taken care for any of the organizations and also a key aspect in achieving Continuous Delivery. To ensure that the whole release cycle is smooth there needs to be a lot of effort that needs to be put in from a various number of members and also the whole process should be in sync. Clarive plays a key role in interfacing both directions on getting all the necessary details from the necessary stakeholders and progressive tracking to complete the release delivery as such.

Following are some of the advantages of using Clarive, let us now take a look at each and every one of them:
Advantages:

  • Provides a Kanban board that deploys – Simple, collaboration and automation combined into a single platform.
  • Provides a provision to set up rules either with code or via visual editor for the release processes.
  • Provides an end to end delivery.
  • Ideal for all the release automation and orchestration requirements.

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3. Tasktop Integration Hub:

Tasktop provides the software integration, for all of your organization’s tools to create an integrated value for your organization. Tasktop Integration Hub is the one-stop solution that handles all the software delivery integration needs without having to vouch for another tool as such. Using the Tasktop Integration Hub, It does provide the right information to the right person via the right tool at the right perfect time.

Following are some of the advantages of using Tasktop Integration Hub, let us now take a look at each and every one of them:
Advantages:

  • There is a connectivity available for over 45 tools that are fully functional without any issues.
  • Provides the provision to add a new tool quickly to the existing software integration.
  • There is a provision for a filter to route artifacts to comply with the customer requirements around frequency and direction as well, of specific field updates.
  • Provision to securely log-in via a web-based interface to ensure security.
  • Provides a smart change detection to limit the load on tools which senses changes to artifacts and maintains the footprint to the smallest possible value.

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4. IBM UrbanCode Release: 

IBM UrbanCode that falls into the bucket of deployment tools in the DevOps space can be coined as an application release automation tool which has the ability to combine visibility, traceability and auditing capabilities. It has the ability to deploy seamlessly to distributed data centers, cloud and also to virtual environments based on a schedule or as frequently as possible. It also automates the deployment to on-premise or cloud environments. The practical use of this tool is observed when it reduces the amount of time that is required to complete full deployment and as well as reducing the chances of any errors.

IBM UrbanCode Deploy allows the user to import the code from a file system or a from a code management system, creates all the application process using a simple to use drag drop tool before the automatic deployment process. The same processes can be loaded into various versions of processes and deployment. It also has the ability to learn the common aspects from similar deployments and hence the deployment scripts be reused in various other situations without having to rewrite the entire thing every single time – thus saving a considerable amount of time which could be used elsewhere.

Following are some of the advantages of using IBM UrbanCode, let us now take a look at each and every one of them:
Advantages:

  • Provides the ability to deploy applications automatically to various environments.
  • Provides an ability to rollback to previously saved configurations.
  • Provides an ability to track user activity.
  • Provides an ability to simply drag-drop systems for process design.
  • Provides an easy integration with IBM RQM to run quality tests on your deployed application using IBM UrbanCode Deploy.
  • Provides good role segregation support which is very good from the security perspective.
  • Provides plugins so that custom Groovy code be added.
  • Provides out of the box compatibility with other platforms as like GIT which makes life easier.

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5. Octopus Deploy:

One of the most important pieces of any software development process is the capability to automate the application deployment through any medium, be it build scripts or tools that are used. One of the intentions of building Octopus Deploy was to build a tool that can automate deployment for .NET applications. It comes with much of ease from the installation time itself, letting you choose to install on a server or on an Azure instance. Octopus Deploy further works along with your build servers to provide reliable, secure and automated releases of your .NET applications into various environments of your software development (be it Testing, Staging, UAT or Production environments) and be it on-premise or cloud environments.

Following are some of the advantages of using Octopus Deploy, let us now take a look at each and every one of them:
Advantages:

  • Provides a massive ability to configure it with the granularity towards permissions
  • Provides seamless integration abilities with other platforms as well
  • Promoting changes to your application and database deployments is quite simple, through environments via a lifecycle.
  • The idea behind building the tool was completely on the idea of PowerShell, and hence its ability to treat everything as a package and ready to deploy.
  • Provides audit information of all your past deployments which can further help in yearly audits for certificates and regulation
  • Provides a very simple UI to see multiple products and their versions and environments to further manage deployment workflow of all these.

6. LaunchDarkly:

LaunchDarkly is yet another tool that allows software teams to progress quicker with lesser amounts of risk. Its vision is to ensure that it eliminates all possible risks for the developers and the operations teams (for the non-DevOps and the DevOps teams) from the software development lifecycle. This is the go to the tool if you want to implement the simple rule from Concept to Launch and then to Value, you won’t have to choose anything else. Not just that, it also provides its support to more than that is required, most of the popular programming languages are already covered in the same.

Following are some of the advantages of using LaunchDarkly, let us now take a look at each and every one of them.
Advantages:

  • Complete control over the timing of feature releases, even for non-engineers.
  • Provides a single dashboard that allows managing the lifecycle of features from local development to production.
  • It provides the development team the flexibility to collaborate effectively and also at the same time to maintain the product stability.
  • Provides its support to most of the popular programming languages like Java, .NET, Python, Node.js, Ruby, Go, JavaScript, PHP, iOS and Android.
  • Faster feature flag updates and less outbound network traffic.
  • Nice documentation to guide you through the advanced configuration options.
  • Provides an improved logging and also is lighter on dependency usage.

7. CA Automic Release Automation:

CA Automic Release Automation is yet another tool in the DevOps chain that helps in automating complex business processes, an application including the necessary infrastructure. This tool is specifically designed for the Finance automation and DevOps sectors of the business, and is available both on-premise and also on a cloud. This tool gives you the very much needed agility, speed, visibility and scalability that helps the Development teams to respond to the every changing technology landscape. There is a lot of intelligence that is imbibed in the tool itself which helps the business process automation product manage centrally the execution of all the business processes across mainframes, cloud or hybrid environments. This is the same set of features that will be provided during the upgrade of the tool in itself.

Following are some of the advantages of using CA Automic Release Automation, let us now take a look at each and every one of them:
Advantages:

  • It enables the creation of agile enterprise with this tool being added in the DevOps toolchain.
  • Provides the end to end workflow visibility and also provides control across platforms, technologies, applications.
  • Eradicates the possibilities of manual errors to almost 90%.
  • Provides an increased workload processing efficiency.
  • Provides a centralized audit trail that keeps track of all your process compliance and errors/remediations.
  • Enables users to create workflows to eliminate scripting and also to decrease specific knowledge to automate the applications.

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8. Micro Focus Dimensions CM: 

Dimensions CM (which is earlier known as Serena Dimensions CM) is a tool that manages all the application changes across various platforms and teams. It is a tool that streamlines the complexity of parallel development, which in turn increases the team velocity. It not only provides accelerated delivery but also provides features as planning, tracking of development activities. Dimensions CM also helps delivery teams to monitor and manage agile environments effectively. It emphasizes on a collaborative, web-based peer review process amongst developers motivating them more towards teamwork. Dimensions CM is the tool that brings together both the development and the review process in order to improve the real-time communication and collaboration.

The tool also helps in organizing and also prioritizing development requests for better backlog grooming. Requests that are identified in the step above can be added to development iteration/sprint. Troubleshooting process is improved by knowing the context of all the code changes. The tool is powerful enough to point out the changes made and by whom, also mentions the request number or the work-item for which the change has been made. This tool also comes along with the built-in peer reviews features along with code branch visualization.

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Following are some of the advantages of using Micro Focus Dimensions CM, let us now take a look at each and every one of them:
Advantages:

  • Best of its features are it is scalable, secure and optimized for distributed teams.
  • Provides a real-time review and also collaborative insight. It also helps in minimizing the rework that is else done and at the same time improve agile team velocity.
  • Reduces the risk and also vulnerabilities by continuously inspecting the development health.
  • Protects the application IP with the built-in accountability and traceability.
  • Provides a way to inspect the reported findings and vulnerabilities continuously.
  • Provides rapid feedback to the developers.
  • Aggregated KPI metrics can be made available for everyone to view.
  • Provides a provision to monitor the delivery status and the associated continuous integration builds.

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9. Plutora Release:

Plutora Release is a robust and on-demand enterprise IT Release Management software tool that is built to help organizations manage releases effectively and efficiently. It is a cloud-based release management tool which enables in planning, executing and coordinating release across complex interdependent applications. The tool also allows managing environments allocation to phases in each release thus provides better visibility. This also ensures the control over environments and also provides efficient utilization.

Following are some of the advantages of using Plutora Release, let us now take a look at each and every one of them:
Advantages:

  • Provides accelerated time to value by delivering services to customers in shorter release cycles.
  • The Release, Test, and Deployment management processes are streamlined in such a way that the changes can be deployed more rapidly.
  • Provides higher release throughput.
  • It also provides enhanced agility and flexibility.
  • Ensures increased productivity by enforcement of standards and best practices.
  • Duplicate and the manual centric activities are eliminated with the necessary automation.
  • Ensures collaboration by bringing together disparate teams and skillsets that are involved in the release management process.
  • By following all the policies and governance that are in place, ensures that the release failures are mitigated.

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10. CA Release Automation: 

CA Release Automation is yet another tool that falls into the space of Release Management tools which handle DevOps projects. It is an enterprise-class, continuous delivery (CD) solution that helps in automating complex, multi-tier release deployments. It is a dynamic application deployment tool which helps in regulating the application delivery across the enterprises. It enables zero-touch deployment from the development environment to the Production environment. It also helps in achieving higher quality releases with the automation in the areas of application releases. This tool helps in reduces the number of manual steps and tries to automate the processes with scripted steps.

Following are some of the advantages of using CA Release Automation, let us now take a look at each and every one of them:
Advantages:

  • It provides by far the best process designer or flow designer when compared with the other automation tools.
  • Provides better visibility, consistency, and reliability thereby reducing production errors.
  • It provides and harnesses enterprise scalability.
  • Provides deploy speeds of applications to about 20 times faster.

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Conclusion:

In this article, we have tried to understand the process of Release Management and also along with that, we have tried to understand the advantages that it brings to the table when it is introduced into the DevOps pipeline. We have gone through various products and also the advantages that these tools bring when introduced into your Organizational DevOps pipelines. Hope you have got all the information that you were looking for in this article itself. Please also do mention if there are any comments, corrections in this article.

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